As part of our 30th anniversar year, we are producing a case study each month demonstrating the work we have achieved over the last 30 years. Our April story is about a women who accessed services at the ISIS Women's Centre in Gloucester.
In December 2012 I was referred to the ISIS Women’s Centre through HMP Eastwood Park where I was serving a 21 day sentence for breach of community order. Sadly just before this time my baby was stillborn. I was also homeless and sofa-surfing due to rent arrears and was generally struggling with the loss of my baby, employment and housing. This led to an increase in my drinking which affected me completing my community order with probation.
When I met with an ISIS key worker, I was able to explain my situation further which also involved being sexually assaulted by a friend I was staying with so accommodation became a key issue for me. My ISIS key worker was able to pick me up on my release from prison and contacted Turning Point whilst I stayed in a B&B which enabled me to stay safe. I received supported housing and moved nearer the ISIS centre so I could continue to receive support. On release from prison, the ISIS key worker was also able to arrange for me to be given a food voucher as I was not entitled to any release money. My key worker was so helpful and also looked into reinstating my benefits on release.
I was still really struggling with my mental health due to the loss of my baby, and my ISIS key worker discussed linking in with my doctor for support and to review medication. I was able to attend therapy groups at ISIS and received some much-needed bereavement counselling.
In October 2013 I was with a friend and an argument ensued which lead to me having a stroke. My ISIS key worker along with Turning Point supported me throughout hospital treatment and rehabilitation. Afterwards I was placed in a care home for rehabilitation. My right arm is still paralysed, but I have been able to start walking with the aid of walking stick. My key worker was still so helpful and helped me apply for Personal Independence and ESA Support as well as arranging for a Motability scooter. This enabled me to carry on accessing services at ISIS and Turning Point and increased my independence.
As a result of the hard work from ISIS, I was able to complete my probation order during which time I faced many challenges and I could have easily slipped back to drinking, and I can proudly say I am no longer offending. I have also been given part-time access to my 5 year old daughter and I have my family back in my life who are very supportive of me. This just means everything to me. More recently I have started living independently and have a lifeline alarm in case of a fall. I have received funding for household items including an iPad which enables me to carry out online shopping and to communicate to the outside world. This again has increased my independence and none of this would be possible without the support of my key worker and the ISIS Women’s Centre.
Photo: June* meeting HRH The Princess Royal during a visit to the ISIS Women's Centre in October 2014.
*Name has been changed
If you have been touched by this story and wish to support the Nelson Trust you can donate £5 via text by texting NELS30 £5 to 70070